A lively networking-focused meeting was held to officially launch the Computing At School Regional Centre for London (CAS London)on Friday July 10th. CAS London will be coordinated by King’s College London and Queen Mary University of London in 2015-2016.
For the last two years, the Department for Education (DfE) have funded CAS to develop the Network of Teaching Excellence in Computer Science; through this CAS have recruited nearly 400 CAS Master Teachers to train and support their peers in preparing to deliver the new Computing curriculum. With renewed funding from the DfE, the Network of Excellence project is now going to be led regionally by 10 university partners, with KCL and QMUL taking responsibility for the London region.
The role of CAS London will be to support existing CAS Master Teachers, CAS Hub Leaders and CAS Lead Schools whilst growing the reach of Computing At School across London. The launch meeting consisted of a drinks reception followed by a series of short presentations. The attendees included CAS Master Teachers, CAS Hub Leaders, other CAS university partners from around London, and also representatives from a range of other agencies including London Grid for Learning (LGfL), the Greater London Authority (GLA), numerous Borough representatives and the BBC. It was a wide-reaching event that had a real buzz and enthusiasm. 19 out of 32 boroughs in London were represented.
During the drinks reception, participants were encouraged to add their comments to a range of displays on different topics - identifying what was going well (and not so well) regarding the Computing curriculum in primary and secondary education. Professor Paul Curzon from QMUL entertained attendees with a range of computer-science related magic tricks; a range of informational displays and resources were also provided to give attendees lots to look at and do.
Simon Humphreys introduced the presentation section of the meeting with a reminder of the aims and ethos of CAS ,explaining that a significant role of the CRC’s would be to nurture and support the education computing Communities of Practice, at the heart of which lie the CAS Master Teachers. This was followed by 18 presentations by some of those attending who had volunteered to share their activity in this space. They addressed the themes: ‘What is working well?’; ‘What is needed?’ and ‘What can I offer?’. Jane Waite and Trevor Bragg, who organised the event, closed with a presentation on what CAS London could offer and a willingness to work together with all other agencies involved with Computing in schools, as well as supporting the CAS Master Teachers.
We were also grateful to the King’s PGCE students for helping to set up displays, register attendees and take photographs of the event.